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UW: Fire displaces over 200 students at Wa Islamic SHS; second time this year

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Students of the Wa Islamic Senior High School have been left devastated after fires ravaged parts of the girls’ dormitory, the second time this year. The fire which destroyed 5 rooms has displaced 215 students. In an attempt to salvage some of their items from the fire, some students sustained some minor injuries and had to be given medical attention.

Some form 3 students who spoke to the GBC said personal items they lost in the fire included money, clothing, books, and food items. They appealed for quick assistance from government to enable teaching and learning activities return to normal.

GBC’s Mark Smith visited the school with the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, the MCE for Wa Tahiru Issahaku Moomen and some officials from the Ghana National Fire Service GNFS, Ghana Police Service GPS as well as the National Disaster Management Organisation and reports that on 17th January this year, fires ravaged one side of the 10-room girls dormitory at the Wa Islamic Senior High School at Busa in the Wa Municipality.

The incident displaced 215 students with personal items running into thousands of cedis lost. This led the school authorities to relocate the students to another dormitory block. At about 8:30pm on the 20th of February, another fire occurred at the block where the students were relocated to.

Five rooms were destroyed while the same 215 students have again been displaced. A third year General Arts student, Regina Sackey, who spoke to the GBC appealed for support.

Student, Regina Sackey.

“We went for preps, so at 8:30pm thereabout we heard some shouts from some of the students. When we came out we realised that is a fire; when we got there we were not able to do anything. Our ‘chopbox’, our gari, everything got burnt. We are pleading to government to assist us,” she said.

The Headmaster of the school, Alhassan Bafaara indicated that the school authorities are at a loss as to what could have caused the second fire.

Headmaster, Alhàssan Bafaara.

The Upper West Regional Commander of the GNFS, ADO1 Abraham Nii Doodo said spot investigations indicate the fire could have started from a faulty electrical connection in the dormitory’s ‘box room.’

UWR GNFS Commander, ADO1 Abraham Nii Doodo.

He however mentioned that after the previous fire, recommendation given to school authorities were not implemented thus the magnitude of destruction in the second fire.

“After the first fire, we gave them some recommendations of which they were not adhered to. They do not have fire alarm systems, they do not have smoke detectors or heat detectors that can give them early warning,” he stressed.

ADO1 Nii Doodo called on heads of schools to be vigilante in the supervision of the students to prevent same from happening in other schools.

The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, said a committee would be set up to investigate the cause of the fire so that necessary actions would be taken to prevent similar occurrences.

Dep. UWR Minister, Amidu Chinnia Issahaku.

“It is a very sad situation but like I indicated to the headmaster and the staff, we are worried about the situation and we cannot rule out anything. What we intend to do collaborate immediately with the Regional Director of Education to set up a committee that will investigate what has happened so that we can establish some facts so that we can permanently resolve this case,” he mentioned.

Story filed by Mark Smith.

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